The Staff Canteen helps Hospitality Action as it helps build careers …

Support for Hospitality Action comes in all shapes and sizes.

Some people like to skydive, others prefer to ease into a bath full of baked beans. Troy Smith opts for Tough Mudders and other endurance sports. Meanwhile, Denise this summer cycled from London to Paris in memory of her husband, Paul.

Next month, our friends at the Staff Canteen, the UK’s largest online network of professional chefs, are supporting us at the first of a new series of events aiming to celebrate hospitality as a great career choice.

UK hospitality will never resolve its enduring skills shortage until it takes proactive steps to sell itself as a career of choice – and that starts with showcasing why it’s such an amazing sector to work in.

The Staff Canteen Live college tour is taking top chefs back to college in a first step to tackling the chef shortage at grass roots level, by highlighting the many and varied career options available in foodservice. The tour aims to inform students on how to forge a successful career in hospitality. It’s being run in partnership with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.

The tour’s first stop is at Westminster Kingsway College, on Monday, 3 December, where students will be able to quiz a panel of chefs comprising Michelin-starred John Williams MBE, Executive Chef at The Ritz; Alyn Williams, Chef Patron of Alyn Williams at The Westbury and The Wild Rabbit; Rob Kennedy, Culinary Director at Compass Group UK and Ireland; Glenn Evans, Head of Food Development at Las Iguanas; and Ruth Hansom, Head Chef at Luton Hoo Hotel.

For John Williams and Ruth, the event will be a trip down memory lane – both studied at Westminster Kingsway.

John is encouraging students to “listen and learn from us as we have been there and done it”.

And Ruth agrees. “It’s important to nurture and encourage young people into the industry”, she says. “It can be tough but it’s also rewarding, which is why it’s important to find the best route for you. It’s key to show young people all the avenues as they are so diverse.”

Mark Morris, Founder of The Staff Canteen, says: “on our panel are some of the most successful chefs working in the industry today. They all began their careers in a very similar environment to the students who join the tour. I hope we communicate that our panel have been successful through hard work; and that all that’s separating the students and them, is a structured career path and a strong work ethic.”

The event will be live-streamed on The Staff Canteen’s Facebook page and YouTube channel from 5pm. It’s the first of four events at colleges around the UK, in the coming months.

If you’d like to get involved in future tour events, email jen@thestaffcanteen.com or call 0330 202 1051.

And what’s in it for HA? The Staff Canteen will be donating £1000 to us on behalf of the chefs on the panel, to reflect the fact that we provide a safety net to catch chefs and other hospitality workers, if they fall.

Thanks, Staff Canteen.

Celebrate the Mandarin Oriental team’s big hearts – and share in our good fortune

A wise man once said that “misfortune nobly born is good fortune.”

I quoted Juvenal at the Worshipful Company of Innholders dinner, last week; now I’m referencing Marcus Aurelius. I wonder how you say ‘get me’, in Latin?

When a fire broke out at her hotel this summer, just one week after it had unveiled a multimillion-pound refurbishment, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park GM Amanda Hyndman must have wondered what she had done to deserve such misfortune. That the fire struck two days into Amanda’s stewardship of the hotel only added insult to injury.

“It’s at times like this that you discover the great pride and loyalty the staff have in the hotel,” she told The Caterer at the time. “There has been a real ‘can do’ spirit amongst everyone. The London Fire Brigade has been amazing and we have had tremendous support from our neighbours with hampers arriving from Harrods and hotels such as the Berkeley, Bulgari and  Jumeirah being so incredibly generous.”

Demonstrating a stoicism that Marcus Aurelius would have applauded, and humbled by the support they received, Amanda and her team quickly decided to turn a negative into a positive.

In days, they had launched FANtastic London, a charitable initiative that aims to thank their local community for its support and care after the fire.

FANtastic London is deploying 400 of the hotel’s workforce to support charities and organisations active or based in the capital, as repairs to the hotel continue. Amanda estimates as much as 40,000 working hours will be donated before the property’s reopening, later this year.

Beneficiaries of the scheme include Walking With The Wounded, Age UK, Thrive Battersea Garden Project, Oxfam, the London Fire Brigade, the Felix Project – and Hospitality Action.

Each week, volunteers Ksenia (pictured with HA’s Astrid Wears-Taylor) and Malin spend a day at our Farringdon office, supporting our fundraising and grant-giving efforts.

And, this week, a crack team of envelope-stuffers will converge on our boardroom to help despatch the Autumn edition of our Golden Friends newsletter.

From a terribly difficult situation, Amanda and her management team have found a way to galvanise their workforce, give them valuable life experiences, and help further the work of many good causes.

It’s been our good fortune at HA to benefit from the altruism shown by the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, and for this we’re hugely grateful.

The hotel’s support of HA continues next Thursday, 20 September, when Amanda and her team host a reception on the Serpentine Solar Boat, Hyde Park, in aid of us.

If you’re free, we’d love you to join us. Tickets are £95 per person. Please email mlewis@hospitalityaction.org.uk if you’d like to help celebrate a noble and philanthropic initiative over a glass or two of fizz.

How Olleco are turning waste oil into a balm for hospitality people in difficulty

Back in February, I write a blog detailing how cooking oil supplier and recycler, Olleco, supports Hospitality Action as part of its wider CSR commitment. 

“Olleco understand that supporting HA creates a virtuous circle”, I wrote. “By supporting our efforts to keep hospitality professionals happy, healthy and work-ready, they are helping build sustainable businesses around the sector – and therefore future-proofing their own business.”

Kate Mortimer, Olleco’s Group Marketing and Communications Manager, told me: “In 2012 we embarked on a journey to find a charity partner who could help us extend our ethos of care. 
Individuals working within the catering and hospitality sector are key to our business. The very people the charity helps are the people that we deal with on a daily basis, delivering cooking oil and collecting organic waste streams.”

Every time Olleco sells cooking oil or collects used oil from its customers it makes a donation to HA. This summer, the total amount the business has donated has reached a staggering £100,000. One hundred thousand shiny pounds!

It’s no exaggeration to say that HA would be unable to help people like Simon Holwell (pictured at the top of this page and featured in the video above), without the support of Olleco and all the other businesses and individuals who tirelessly raise funds for us.

Congratulations on your milestone and thank you from the team at HA and all our beneficiaries.

Would you like to benefit from the virtuous circle of supporting HA? Drop me a line at mlewis@hospitalityaction.org.uk or call me on 07919 324978.

Happy teams and the halo effect: how our EAP can help hospitality suppliers, too

More and more operators are catching on to the value of Hospitality Action’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). At just £5 per team-member per year to support the health, happiness and work-readiness of their workforce, why wouldn’t they?

But did you know our EAP isn’t tailored exclusively for operators – that we also offer it to suppliers of products and services into the hospitality market?

Personal and health issues can have a major impact on the way people work, resulting in reduced performance, lack of focus and absence. These, in turn, can lead to lost productivity and significant cost to employers. Our care programme offers a raft of benefits, including personal counselling, legal guidance, addiction support, debt advice and a financial well-being service, parenting helpline, elderly care helpline and a whistle-blowing service.

For subscribing suppliers, participation in the scheme is a win-win. It demonstrates a commitment to their team’s physical and mental wellbeing; provides a tool for growing morale and therefore retention; ensures employees are productive and undistracted by issues that might prevent them from focussing fully on their jobs; and enables them to invest in the sustainability of the industry they serve, and whose robust health they depend upon.

Already, we’ve got the likes of ACT Clean, The Caterer, HIT Training and Oranka Juice Solutions onboard as clients. This summer, they’ve been joined by the Country Range Group, who become the first foodservice wholesale buying group to subscribe.

Country Range are no strangers to HA. Last year – their twenty-fifth – they nominated us as their charity of the year and raised an impressive £25,000 in support of us.

Country Range Group Managing Director Coral Rose explains why the group is so supportive of HA: “The charity has a wonderful heritage, it’s genuine and credible, and it’s geared up to supporting the industry we also support in a wide number of ways, from addiction awareness for students right through to companionship for the elderly.

“Last year, to mark our anniversary, we did loads of activities in aid of HA, including a Muddy Maniac challenge and a gala dinner at Hampden Court. We also had a stationary bike installed at our office. Members of the team took it turns to cycle until we’d completed a 1000-mile virtual cycle-ride around all our customers’ locations. The team loved getting involved, which made it great both for team building and for member engagement.”

Creed Foodservice, one of the 12 independent wholesalers that comprise the group, also actively supports HA at events such as our Cotswold Cycle Challenge; and Managing Director Philip de Ternant sits on our Southwest fundraising committee.

Now the Country Range Group has extended its support of HA to include our EAP.

Coral says: “We’d written about the EAP in our customer magazine, Stir It Up, but we thought it was just for end-users. When we became aware it could be applied to wholesalers, we decided to sign up as a group. It represents good value, it allows us to support the industry charity, and it’s a cost-effective way for members to give benefits to their own employees.”

Would you like to safeguard the wellbeing of your workforce and benefit from the halo effect that comes from supporting the industry you serve? Contact us now at eap@hospitalityaction.org.uk.

100 miles in aid of Hospitality Action

We celebrate 13 brave cyclists who represented Hospitality Action and our industry on Sunday 29th July and completed the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 in wet and windy conditions. The team jointly raised over £12k for our charity.

The cyclists include Richard Davies Chef at Calcot,  Richard Ball Executive Director of the Calcot Collection, Brian Rowledge and Adam Rowledge, General Manager at Georgian House Hotel, Chris Moore from The Clink Charity, Carl Maskell Director at Just Chefs. Chef Adam Grey, industry professionals John Webb, Steve Batten, Richard Turner, Chris Schroeder, Raul Deflorian, Front of House Manager at 45 Park Lane, The Dorchester Collection and Nicholas Rettie The Master of The Worshipful Company of Innholders.

What teams them all up are their passions for cycling and hospitality.

     

Here is what our supporter Raul Deflorian, Front of House Manager at 45 Park Lane, The Dorchester Collection said: “We made it!!! It was really tough, two bad punctures after the biggest hill of the race and a lot of rain and wind, but overall very pleased! I managed to reach the target and contribute to the outstanding work that you all do at Hospitality Action!”

Long term supporter Nicholas Rettie, Master of The Worshipful Company of Innholders said: “I rode the Prudential London Surrey a few years ago and really enjoyed it, so I was delighted to have got a place this year through Hospitality Action. I’ve been in the hotel business all my working life and have always admired the work Hospitality Action do for the people in our wonderful industry who are in need of support. To raise some money by riding 100 miles was exhausting, but it was really rewarding and for such a worthy cause!”

Final word from Adam Rowledge, General Manager at Georgian House Hotel:

“It has been a pleasure to work with Hospitality Action since I became aware of the excellent work that they do around 7 years ago. There are so many different ways to support the charity, many of which I have been fortunate to be able to do during this time, from completing sponsored events such as the British 10k run and RideLondon 100, staging fundraising and awareness events during Hospitality Action Week, welcoming guests to my hotel for Golden Friends afternoon teas and of course attending the more indulgent events such as the wonderful Back to the Floor dinner and of course there are many more ways that you can help, all year round. I passionately believe that we not only should want to support Hospitality Action to give back to our industry but that we actually have a duty to. The charity is always there whenever we or our team needs its support and I have been fortunate to directly see the benefit of their involvement in my own business through the Employee Assistance Programme and the support that HA provided to our additional focus on employee wellbeing.”

We thank our supporters for making our work possible. Without the funds you raise, our hands will be tied and our phone lines will be unanswered. Isn’t it comforting that hospitality workers in need have somewhere to turn to?

You are selflessly pushing yourself to achieve a challenge, to deserve the pledged moneys, only to hand everything over and help the colleagues within our industry who are next in line to be given support in their difficult time.

Yes, there is a constant stream of applications to assist and we can’t turn anyone away. If people have reached out, they are relying on our help. Going forward, we can’t leave anyone behind. Asking for help is hard and most often people would like to remain anonymous. We try and help people confidentially and without any disruption to their personal or working life whenever possible. That way they manage to keep up with their lives, keep their dignity and regain their confidence and power back.

Hospitality Action is here, with all our 181 years of experience to support you, educate or assist you. Only together we can make the changes that are worth making in the industry we all love. Choose to fundraise, choose to support, sign up for our newsletter and feel part of the conversation.

Credit where due: passing on beneficiaries’ thanks to all our supporters

Of the many reasons for choosing a career in hospitality, one of the foremost has to be the pleasure that comes from being thanked for the food, drink, accommodation or service you’ve provided.

At Hospitality Action, we thrive on positive feedback, too. ‘Thank you’ is a powerful phrase, and we’ve collected backloads of thank you notes from people we’ve helped.

Of course, we can only offer the support that elicits this feedback because of the fundraising that underpins our charity. On that basis, the thanks should really go to you, the selfless people who make our work possible.

You know who you are: consider yourselves well and truly thanked for your generosity of spirit. You are changing lives for the better – as you’ll see from the comments below.

“I am in tears as I type. Thank you so much. You saved my life.”

“Thank you very much for your help to save my house and my life, I couldn’t ask a better person for help.”

“With your help, I’m having the best winter. It is the first time I can have heating without worrying about the bill. It’s wonderful. Thank you for the peace and happiness you have given me.”

“To all the wonderful staff at Hospitality Action, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for all your help since losing my job. I don’t know what I would have done without it.

“Thank you for the vouchers for the afternoon tea. I took my mum with me as she supported me through my treatment. After the trauma of last year, it was lovely to be able to relax and have an afternoon out.”

“Thank you so much. I am utterly speechless and eternally grateful.”

“I just wanted to thank you all for the lovely Christmas card and gift card. When I opened it this morning I cried at the generosity and kindness you have shown.”

“Thank you for the adaptations. I applied to other organisations, but they had either run out of funds or we didn’t fit their criteria. You were quick to reply and made us feel less humble for applying. I can’t thank you enough.”

“Please accept our sincere thanks for your generosity. It has made a world of difference. You made this happen: 😊.”

“Just wanted to say thank you so much for my grant. It has helped me a lot with getting my life back on track.”

“Thank you so much. With the help and support of your kind organisation, it is a lot easier to focus on the positives and a bright future.”

“I cannot express in words the gratitude I have for your charity. I’ll never forget that you helped me at my worst point. Not only have you changed and improved my life and situation, you’ve restored something I haven’t had in a very long time: hope.”

“Thank you doesn’t seem like enough, you are all angels and I am forever grateful for your help.”

“Your grant made such a difference to my mental state, which no doubt helped in the healing process.”

Wanted: volunteers to spread the HA word nationwide – and help hospitality people

Hospitality Action helps people who work or have worked in hospitality and find themselves in difficulty or crisis. We’re only able to do this because of the generosity of our supporters.

Support comes in many forms: people donate, cycle, bake, run, cook and host events for us. Whatever our supporters choose to do, we’re always grateful.

We’re lucky to have three regional committees, whose members give up precious time for free to help put on fundraising events in their region.

In the southwest, Calcot’s Richard Ball heads up a merry band of hoteliers, consultants and suppliers who pull together to deliver events such as the Rugby Legends Dinner, the Southwest Polo Day and the Cotswolds Cycle Challenge.

In the northwest, our fundraising committee led by Kevin Haygarth and Dawn Holding works tirelessly to pull off events like the Northern Lights Dinner, Northern Golf Day and this weekend’s Northwest Polo Day.

And in London, Daniel Pedreschi of Park Plaza Hotels chairs a committee that’s responsible for our annual Big Fat Quiz night and our ever-popular Christmas Dinner.

The hard work of these three boards not only raises hundreds of thousands of pounds for us every year, it also helps promote the work Hospitality Action does, regionally.

In the coming year, I want to extend our network of regional committees to encompass East Anglia, the Heart of England, Wales and Scotland. To do this, I need volunteers to put their hand up and say “I’d like to help Hospitality Action in my region”.

Committee members need to be dedicated, philanthropic, resourceful and persuasive. Do you fit that bill? If so, please contact me at mlewis@hospitalityaction.org.uk or call me on 07919 3234978.

 

 

Industry supports Le Tour de Cuisine!

On Monday last week over 200 cyclists set off on our Le Tour de Cuisine Cotswold Cycle Challenge. The event, sponsored by Calcot, Sky and Technogym, has raised a phenomenal £37,000 and counting!

Sixty cyclists joined us for a delicious pasta supper at The Gumstool Inn in the grounds of the Calcot Manor hotel on Sunday evening. As well as loading up on carbs, it was also an opportunity to swap top cycling tips ahead of the big day. It was Calcot’s equivalent of the HA Social Sunday event and they kindly donated all proceeds from the three-course meal.

Fifty cyclists were up and ready for the start at 8am, some having made the three hour journey up from London that morning (not on the bike!). Everyone was in high spirits despite what lay ahead!
A further 100 cyclists joined us for the 60 and 40 mile routes while
another 50 cyclists took on the 20 mile challenge.

Team Sky getting ready for 100 miles
The Gold Key Media Team set off for 60 miles

The ride was certainly tough but the hospitality along the way was, as you would expect, excellent! There was a feeding station at The Village Hall in Barnsley, catered for by the team at Barnsley House, as well as another at The Painswick. Riders also enjoyed refreshments laid on by
The Protein Ball Company, Nestlé and Creed Foodservice.

The Chewton Glen 100 milers
Mark Godfrey from Deer Park Hotel in his dinner jacket!
The Vacherin Team setting off on the 100 mile route

Meanwhile, some cyclists stopped for what was described as ‘the best mac n cheese ever’ at Whatley Manor. Some even ended up doing 40 extra miles just so that they could double back to Whatley for an extra helping!

At 2pm the tired-looking cyclists began to cross the finishing line but we were ready for them with a medal and a glass of Taittinger Champagne, courtesy of Hatch Mansfield. Calcot also laid on a great BBQ with the kind help of Creed Foodservice team and the cyclists sat in the hotel garden enjoying the sunshine as they waited for their team mates to return.

Creed Foodservice at the BBQ after their ride

This was truly a day to celebrate the industry we work in and it was humbling to welcome back our cyclists after an extremely tough challenge.

The Arch Hotel Team with their medals
Team Sky after the challenge with their medals

Well done to everyone who participated, you guys really are all
amazing
and such an inspiration!

Teams who took part included Sky, the Calcot Collection, Bespoke Hotels, CH&Co Group, Chewton Glen, Creed Foodservice, Exclusive Hotels,
Gold Key Media, Greenclose Hotels, Lucknam Park, Red Carnation Hotels, The Arch, The Pig Hotels, Vacherin, Preferred Hotels & Resorts,
Farncombe Estate, The Vineyard, Firmdale Hotels, Total Produce,
Whatley Manor and The Goring.

Here’s to Le Tour de Cuisine Cotswold Cycle Challenge 2019 – if you would like to join in the fun next year and raise some funds for the charity,
please email me via astrid@hospitalityaction.org.uk

Sushi masters, cricket matches and communal tables: Social Sunday is just one month away!

Social Sunday is just one month away today, and chefs across the nation are hatching some grand plans to mark it and raise funds for Hospitality Action. and help transform hospitality lives.

Social Sunday was the brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton. For three years, Jason, principle patron of HA, has run the event to fundraise for the charity. Since launching Social Sunday in 2015, he has raised over £100,000 to help his fellow hospitality professionals.

This year, on 1 July, we’re taking the concept nationwide – and operators are  finding some imaginative ways of supporting.

As usual, Jason’s London restaurants will play host to a fantastic roster of guest chefs, among them Tom Aikens, Tom Sellers, Paul Ainsworth, Martin Morales, Clare Smyth and sushi master, Endo Kazutoshi.

At Dom Chapman’s Beehive in White Waltham, meanwhile, Social Sunday will be piggy-backing lunch service, a hog roast and a spot of cricket.

HA patron and super-supporter Heston Blumenthal is adding a £1 donation on all bills at The Fat Duck, The Hinds Head, The Crown, The Perfectionists’ Café and Dinner by Heston London during the week of Social Sunday.

Another HA patron, Tom Kerridge, is kindly donating a percentage of takings at the Hand and Flowers and the Coach on 1 July.

Further west, Niall Keating and The Caterer’s Hotelier of the Year Sue Williams are welcoming the legend that is Sat Bains to Whatley Manor, where Niall and Sat will be cooking up an eight-course storm together.

Further up the country, at Manchester’s Hotel Football, there’s a Sunday lunch in our honour …

… and Gary Usher’s growing northwest empire (well done on the Pinion crowdfunding triumph – £86k!!) will be holding Social Sunday dinners in all four of its restaurants: Sticky Walnut, Wreckfish, Hispi and Burnt Truffle. Guests at all venues will enjoy five-course tasting menus at communal tables, in keeping with the social aspect of the evening.

North of the border, Tom Kitchin will be adding £1 to every bill throughout July.

With Social Sunday four weeks away, there’s still time to find your own way to support Hospitality Action. Please shout if you need our help.

 

 

 

Charity supporters walk the rooms of Downton Abbey

Last Thursday we offered our guests the opportunity to tour Highclere Castle in West Berkshire, to lunch and have afternoon tea at The Vineyard at Stockcross and we raised £13,000 for Hospitality Action.

We ran this event for the first time in 2017 and for the second year running we sold out in just a few weeks. We love organising this popular event because it opens the doors to new supporters, who are prepared to travel for miles for the opportunity to tour Highclere, enjoy a Champagne reception and a fabulous three-course lunch with paired wines at The Vineyard.

Chef Robby Jenks once again prepared the most exquisite menu not just for the lunch, but also for the array of sweet treats for the afternoon tea, which was gladly received upon the return from the castle tour.

The Vineyard Hotel, a Relais & Châteaux 5 star hotel and spa, is renowned for its impeccable service, 3 AA Rosette restaurant and award-winning, 30,000-bottle wine cellar. All guests highly praised chef Robby Jenks and his brigade.

Even the short coach journey to Highclere Castle was enjoyed, driving through the beautiful countryside, taking in the green fields dotted with sheep and new born baby lambs, one of the sure signs of spring, to finally reveal a stunning country house set within a 5,000-acre estate in Hampshire, the country retreat of the Earl of Carnarvon. Highclere was a filming location for the British comedy series Jeeves and Wooster and it was also more recently used as the main location for the award-winning period drama Downton Abbey. We even had an actor amongst our guests, a proud extra who took part in many episodes in the series and proved to be quite a character.

This year we also offered a visit to the Egyptian Exhibition, which highlighted the 5th Earl of Carnarvon’s role in discovering the Tomb of the Egyptian Boy Pharaoh, Tutankhamun, in 1922 with his colleague, Howard Carter. We all learned something new that day and those of us who love history, came away a little bit curious.

In the words of one of our guests: “We had a wonderful day at Highclere Castle and the food and the service at The Vineyard were outstanding, we will definitely come back! Today we were introduced to Hospitality Action and feel privileged to have attended this fundraiser and to have contributed to such a great cause, we will make sure we support your charity in the future!”

The raffle and live auction raised £13,000 and we are hugely grateful to Greenclose Hotels Limited, The Marylebone, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, Tyddyn Llan, The House near Bath, Firmdale Hotels, CH&Co and Sidoli who donated prizes.

We are extremely grateful to The Vineyard for hosting the event, to Taittinger Champagne for providing the bubbles for the drinks reception and to Hatch Mansfield for pairing up wines with the menu. We thank all of our sponsors for continuing to support our fundraising efforts and contributing with such special care and attention to ensure our event offer experiences to remember.

The funds raised will be used directly to support our charity work, to provide a much needed support, often a lifeline, to current and former hospitality industry workers who find themselves in difficult times, both at work and in their personal lives.

The reality is that hospitality is everywhere in our lives and we believe that the hard working people offering hospitality should not remain faceless or suffer in silence. After all how can you deliver great service with a smile if you don’t feel like smiling?

If you would like to be informed about our work and attend future events, please sign up to our newsletter here.

If you would like to get involved, donate a prize, nominate us as your charity or have an idea, we would love to hear from you fundraising@hospitalityaction.org.uk